07 June 2013, 14:16
Patriarch Kirill plans to preside over celebrations of 1,000 years of Russian presence on Mount Athos in 2016
Athos, June 7, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has proposed rebuilding the Ksilurgu Monastery, the oldest Russian monastery on Mount Athos in Greece, by 2016, when the 1,000 years of the Russian presence on Mount Athos will be celebrated.
"In three years, we will celebrate the 1,000 years of the Russian presence on the Holy Mount Athos," the patriarch said in Ksilurgu, addressing monks.
"This place has been playing a special role," he said.
Large-scale efforts are currently under way to restore the Saint Panteleimon Monastery and the Old Russik Monastery on Mount Athos, he said.
"But our task is also to fully rebuild Ksilurgu as soon as possible as our first monastery, which would enable us to welcome the 1,000 years of the Russian monastic presence on Athos in this holy place. The restoration of this monastery would confirm our gratitude to all of the monks who have maintained the eternal flame of the Russian monastic traditions here for a thousand years," Patriarch Kirill said.
Russian pilgrims have special feelings toward Ksilurgu, he said.
"I believe that as restoration efforts progress further, more and more people will come and seek spiritual solace there," he said.
The first Russian monastery on Mount Athos was founded during the rule of Holy Prince Vladimir. The earliest written mention of it dates back to February 1016.
The Russian monastic community on Mount Athos reached its height in the second half of the 19th century. More than 4,000 monks from Russia lived in the Saint Panteleimon Monastery, the Saint Andrew, the Saint Elijah Monastery and other places on Mount Athos at the beginning of the 20th century. From the 16th century to the 19th century, the Russian monasteries on Mount Athos owned 100 different buildings, including five churches, a refectory, a hospital and a pier.